World Magazine
Pro-democracy activists in Hong Kong are threatening protests after Beijing announced election rules Sunday that would limit democracy in the former British colony. The new rules dictate that a committee filled with Beijing loyalists must approve candidates for Hong Kong’s chief executive in 2017, breaking a promise that the region would be eligible for universal suffrage by then. When the British returned Hong Kong to mainland China in 1997, then-Chinese leader Deng Xiaoping agreed to
   
UPDATE (4 p.m. EDT): U.S. officials are trying to confirm the authenticity of a video that appears to show the beheading of American journalist Steven Sotloff. “If the video is genuine, we are sickened by this brutal act, taking the life of another innocent American citizen,” State Department spokeswoman Jen Psaki said. “Our hearts go out to the Sotloff family and we will provide more information as it becomes available.” In the video, an unidentified ISIS militant covered head to
   
A federal judge on Sunday temporarily blocked enforcement of a Louisiana law that requires abortionists to have admitting privileges at nearby hospitals. Three of the state’s five abortion facilities filed suit, represented by the Center for Reproductive Rights (CRR). The law requires all Louisiana abortionists to obtain admitting privileges at hospitals within 30 miles of their respective facilities. Violators risk losing their licenses and a $4,000 fine. The restraining order allows
   
Matti Friedman was an Associated Press reporter and editor in Jerusalem from 2006 to 2011. He has lived in Israel since 1995 and been reporting on it since 1997, so his indictment of mainstream press coverage of Israel carries some weight. In the wryly titled “An Insider’s Guide to the Most Important Story on Earth,” Friedman notes that during his time with the AP the agency had more than 40 staffers covering Israel and the Palestinian territories—far more than the AP had in
   
North Korea paraded three American detainees before foreign media in Pyongyang on Monday, appearing to let them speak freely about their plight. The Americans, who were interviewed in three different rooms, said they have been able to contact their families. They also said they believed a U.S. official needed to come to North Korea to help gain their freedom. North Korean officials were present during the interviews, but didn’t censor any questions. It’s not clear whether the
   
Amidst rising opposition to Common Core, Oklahoma dropped the national education standards in June, four years after adopting them. As a result, the U.S. Department of Education last week denied Oklahoma’s request to extend its No Child Left Behind (NCLB) waiver, saying the state no longer met requirements for college- and career-ready education standards. Losing the waiver limits Oklahoma’s freedom in education spending and forces it to comply with requirements often considered
   
North Carolina-based Christian aid group SIM USA said Tuesday another American doctor has contracted Ebola in Liberia.  The doctor was treating obstetrics patients at SIM’s ELWA hospital in Monrovia, the organization said. That’s the same hospital where SIM missionary Nancy Writebol and Samaritan’s Purse doctor Kent Brantly fell ill in July. The doctor, who has not been named, “is doing well and is in good spirits,” a press release states. But how he contracted the virus is
   
The importance of being a voice for the voiceless
   
Last week, I talked with John Stonestreet of the Chuck Colson Center for Christian Worldview about the literal war on Christianity taking place in Iraq. NICK EICHER: Retired Iraqi Gen. George Sada is a Christian. He was also one of Saddam Hussein’s trusted advisers. Now living in London, Sada spoke last weekend with John Stonestreet on his weekend radio program, Breakpoint This Week , saying: “These groups, they come very powerfully. When they are coming to a place, they are destroying
   
Look out, Kiev. Russian President Vladimir Putin is so misunderstood. A Kremlin spokesman said today that EU Commission President Jose Manuel Barroso took Putin’s recent comments about the fighting in Ukraine out of context. According to Barroso, as quoted in an Italian newspaper, Putin told him, “If I want to, I can take Kiev in two weeks.” The Kremlin says those comments had a completely different meaning when Putin said them. Russian officials also accuse Barroso of a breach of
   
From 1948 to 1961, there was a show called This Is Your Life , hosted by Ralph Edwards. In it, an unsuspecting celebrity was lured to a place by a friend or family member where Edwards would surprise him. People from the celebrity’s past would then come out one by one and tell stories of the celebrity’s early life. A modern-day version of that program is Finding Your Roots , the latest in a brilliant series about race, identity, and heritage hosted by Harvard professor Henry Louis Gates Jr.
   
Persecution isn’t limited to totalitarian regimes or Islamic states. Some Western democracies also make it difficult for Christians, especially evangelicals, to practice their faith openly. In Greece, evangelicals face constant harassment, including fines and jail time, and cannot build their own churches. But some missionaries say a new law could be a “big step forward” for evangelical Christians in the country. Greek laws favor the Greek Orthodox Church and place restrictions on
   
The biggest change in my seventh decade of life is that I am becoming an optimist. An optimist is a person with confidence and hope in the success or outcome of something. That’s me nowadays. I daresay it is not a passing phase but a waxing trend. Don’t get me wrong, there’s a lot of crazy hard stuff going on in my life right now, and the dilemma of writing for public consumption is always that the potentially most helpful insights I can write about are things I cannot share without
   
I love the human race. It’s people I find trying. Like when one of them is pumping gas right beside you with the most appalling words in the English language reverberating out of his open car window, soaking your children in verbal sewage. And he looks about 40. It could be regional. Riding the bus or subway can also be unhappy. You wouldn’t plan your vacation around it. A river cruise, sure. A subway circuit? Unlikely. And yet in these situations when we are wading deep into the flow
   
Last week, the 7th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in Chicago heard arguments on marriage cases from Indiana and Wisconsin. Indiana state law upholds marriage between one man and one woman. Wisconsin has a constitutional amendmentdefining marriage that way. Judge Richard Posner, a Reagan appointee, dismissed tradition out-of-hand as a justification for marriage. He said only “hate” is behind wanting to order society around one-man-one-woman unions and used the phrase “savage
   
The highest military appeals court in the United States will hear an appeal later this year in the case of a soldier sentenced to death for killing two fellow soldiers and wounding 14 others in a grenade attack in 2003. Army Sgt. Hasan K. Akbar, 42, was convicted in 2005 of premeditated murder and attempted premeditated murder resulting from an attack on members of the 101st Airborne Division at Camp Pennsylvania, Kuwait, on March 23, 2003. Akbar tossed three hand grenades into the tents
   
The FBI has released its annual National Threat Assessment for Domestic Extremism, and it’s good to know the bureau is monitoring animal rights activists, environmental fanatics, pro-abortion and pro-life groups (or individuals influenced by such groups), and Puerto Rican nationalists. The FBI also predicts more incidents of violence from black separatist organizations harking back to the 1970s, in response to “perceptions of devolving racial equality or perceptions of racially
   
More records. Another week goes by, and we have another week of records for the Dow Jones Industrial Average and the Standard & Poor’s 500. The S&P stock index crossed the 2,000 level for the first time ever on Monday. Since the bull market began in early 2009, the S&P has nearly tripled in value. It is up almost 8 percent for the year. The Dow is up a bit less, about 4 percent. Stocks have rallied four straight weeks as investors are encouraged by signs of improvement in
   
After returning two kidnapped Amish girls safely home earlier this month, a New York couple got a surprise thank you gift on Friday when the Amish community organized a “barn raising” to rebuild their burned-out garage. On Aug. 13, two Amish sisters were working at their family’s roadside vegetable stand in Oswegatchie, N.Y., small town of 4,000 residents near the Canadian border, when they disappeared. The sisters, ages 12 and 7, have 11 other siblings and live with their parents,
   
I went for a walk and wanted to pray but was as stuck as the White Witch’s sledge in the slush of new spring. All my prayers beginning, “Lord, I pray for my husband …” and “Lord, please work in my children …” went nowhere. Then I remembered this verse: “Enter his gates with thanksgiving and his courts with praise!” (Psalm 100:4, ESV) So I changed my approach and suddenly found smooth sailing. Rather than, “Lord, I pray for my husband …” I began, “Lord, thank you
   
Should we be shocked, shocked, that some secularists look for meaning in all the wrong places?
   
How (Not) to Be Secular: Reading Charles Taylor  (Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing Co., 2014) is James Smith’s clear explanation of a philosopher whose work can be difficult. Taylor, a self-professed Roman Catholic and author of A Secular Age (2007), begins with the standard narrative, which argues that since 1500 God has been “subtracted” from the world, religious belief has declined, and the scientist has replaced the priest. Taylor calls this narrative “secularism,” but argues
   
Have you made your political ideology your hermeneutic, cherry-picked Bible verses, and created an enemies list of those who don’t see it your way?
   
A battle over a failing school district helped stoke the fires of racial tension that engulfed North County, Mo., after Michael Brown’s death
   
Founded in 1977 by Baroness Caroline Cox, Christian Solidarity Worldwide is a human rights organization specializing in religious freedom. Benedict Rogers represents Christian Solidarity Worldwide in what is perhaps the roughest neighborhood on the planet when it comes to religious liberty concerns, East Asia. His 2013 book, Burma: A Nation at the Crossroads , includes an introduction by Archbishop Desmond Tutu. Rogers has traveled to Burma more than 40 times in the past 15 years.
   
A federal judge Friday ruled against new abortion restrictions set to go into effect in Texas this Monday. The ruling blocks a requirement that abortion centers in Texas have hospital-like facilities with operating rooms, air filtration systems, and other standards that are typically only mandated in surgical settings. Supporters of the measure said it would protect women’s health, but U.S. District Judge Lee Yeakel said it created an “impermissible obstacle as applied to all women
   
Shaun the Australian sheep had gone the whole six years of his life without a haircut, until Thursday. Shaun had been hiding for years on a farm on the island state of Tasmania. The Australian Broadcasting Corp. reported Shaun was 23.5 kilograms (52 pounds) lighter after he was finally shorn. On video footage of the momentous event, he seemed shaky and a little embarrassed. “It’s going to be such a shock to him,” shearing instructor Jack Monks said. “It’s like you having three
   
In a now-public letter sent this week to all 32 professional football teams, NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell announced new penalties for players accused of domestic violence, including “banishment” for a second offense. The new rules come after the league faced widespread criticism for Goodell’s decision to give Baltimore running back Ray Rice a two-game suspension when he faced assault charges after surveillance video showed him dragging his unconscious fiancée (now wife) off an
   
On Nov. 4, voters will head to the polls to decide, among other things, control of the U.S. Senate. At the moment, Republicans appear to have pole position in the Senate battle, but a GOP takeover is far from a sure thing. A key race in the Hawkeye State could tip the balance of power. State senator and Army National Guard officer Joni Ernst is trying to flip a Senate seat in Iowa for Republicans. She’s locked in a tight race with Democratic Congressman Bruce Braley. Braley’s team has
   
What will you see when you watch the news or scan your favorite online news source? Likely you’ll see story after story of illness, crime, sadness, destruction, and heartbreak. In light of all this it is easy to see sports as merely a distraction from the hard things, but sports have a unique ability to reveal good, kindness, inspiration, and encouragement. Kevin Grow managed his high school basketball team and was beloved. His dream was to be a basketball player, but Grow has Down
   
I went to meet my father in the parking lot of his workplace with the urgency of Jonathan going down to meet David at Horesh to strengthen him in the Lord (1 Samuel 23:16). My almost 90-year-old father has been caring for my bedridden 82-year-old mother for three or more years. In that time he has learned laundry, housecleaning, the layout of a supermarket, and the secret to a mean beef stew, but the strain is starting to tell. I offered to merge our households again, and he declined
   
UKRAINE: Newspaper front pages this morning downplayed news from Ukraine. But The Wall Street Journal calls it what it is: “Ukraine says Russia has invaded.” Moscow has reportedly sent more than 1,000 troops backed by heavy artillery into eastern Ukraine, and Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko has pledged Ukraine “can defend itself.” As he has done elsewhere, President Barack Obama declared U.S. intentions way in advance: “It is not in the cards for us to see a military
   
Free college might sound too good to be true amidst national concern over the rising cost of higher education, but that’s what Tennessee is promising its high school seniors. On Aug. 15, applications opened for the Tennessee Promise, a scholarship providing two years of free tuition at any of Tennessee’s community or technical colleges. Though some say it will jeopardize high-quality four-year programs and that getting students into college is still a far step from getting them to
   
Heightened security. Conflict escalation in Iraq and Syria led Britain to raise its terror threat level from substantial to severe Friday. The new threat level, the second-highest of five tiers, means a terrorist attack is considered highly likely. It doesn’t mean an attack is imminent, Home Secretary Theresa May said, but British authorities are asking the public to help identify potential terrorists. The possible involvement of a British national in the beheading of U.S. journalist
   
Valiant Hearts: The Great War takes a less graphic, more human approach to a video game set on a battlefield
   
HSLDA founder Michael P. Farris criticizes the teachings of former ministry leaders Doug Phillips and Bill Gothard
   
On this day in 2005, Hurricane Katrina slammed into the Gulf Coast causing massive damage in Mississippi, Alabama, and Louisiana. In low-lying New Orleans, the storm surge breached the federally built levee system, flooding as much as 80 percent of the city and killing at least 700 people. Nine years later in the St. Roch area of the Crescent City, the long process of recovering from Katrina has created economic and social side effects—some positive, some not.  St. Roch is a
   
The World Health Organization issued a dire call to action Thursday, warning the Ebola outbreak in West Africa could top 20,000 cases, six times larger than it is now.  Newest figures outline 1,552 deaths and 3,069 cases reported so far in Liberia, Sierra Leone, Guinea, and Nigeria. Officials say hard-hit areas may have two to four times the number of cases recorded, echoing Samaritan’s Purse testimony before Congress on Aug. 7.  The United Nations asked for 750 international
   
Fear, apathy, and selfishness led civil authorities in an English borough to look the other way as hundreds of children were sexually abused, according a scathing report released this week. The report estimates between 1997 and 2013, as many as 1,400 children, mostly ages 11–16, were victimized first by their abusers, then by a child welfare system that knew about the problem but never took action. The rampant child sexual exploitation in Rotherham has been public knowledge in England
   
Before buying groceries this week I Googled “what to pack in your husband’s lunch.” I was then introduced to whole forums of women who have contemplated this important question, their words running to this effect: “My husband is such a dear, he will really eat anything. I know he could pack a lunch himself but I want to do it for him because I love him.” Assured that I had unearthed a virtuous, man-affirming corner of the world wide web, I read on. Some of the forum women had
   
 
   
 
   
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